Recipe Books: Rick Stein v Nathan Outlaw
If you adore the fresh tastes and delectable flavours served at seafood restaurants in Cornwall or at Mullion Cove Hotel, then you’ve probably got a few good seafood cook books lurking on your kitchen shelves. There’s nothing quite like reliving the tastes of holiday fare when back at home!
With this in mind, we thought we’d undertake a seafood recipe book review to give you some Cornish gastronomic inspiration. We’ve chosen books by two celebrated seafood chefs located in Cornwall: Rick Stein’s 100 Fish & Seafood Recipes (My Kitchen Table), and Nathan Outlaw’s Modern Seafood (Lyons Press).
The wonderful chefs at Mullion Cove Hotel also love sourcing and preparing local seafood for our delicious seafood platters. Read on for their top fish buying tips or visit us in the Atlantic View Restaurant and taste their exquisite dishes first hand!
“I’ve always thought that a good fish soup is the best way to test the quality of a good fish restaurant. It’s all to do with the depth of flavour that comes from using lots of fish and shellfish…” Rick Stein
And so it begins, as Rick Stein tantalisingly goes onto describe the ingredients of his Classic Fish Soup with Rouille and Croutons. It’s the first of 24 soups and starters that comprise the first section of this handy kitchen pocket book, which then works its mouth-watering way through light bites and lunches, rice, pasta and noodles, and simple suppers, before suggesting dishes which are ideal to cook for friends.
Unlike Rick Stein’s farther flung recipes of the Far East, the ingredients listed in the majority of these recipes are easy to purchase. There’s also a mixture of mezze plate suggestions that serve more than four people – ideal for entertaining. It’s great to see Rick using some lesser known species in some of his recipes, such as dog fish, gurnard and grey mullet which are cheaper on the pocket and classed as sustainable.
Each recipe is split into easy to follow sections which guide you through making the dish, though there are no step-by-step instructions for preparing seafood. Often it’s the case that people prefer to cook meat rather than fish at home as they’re unsure how to handle seafood. Despite this, you need never fear fish eyes or skate bones here!
Rick makes fish cookery easy and simple, mainly using fillets rather than whole fish, alongside some stunning ideas for enhancing your fish dishes.
Recipes we love by Rick Stein
Page 8 Sardines stuffed with pine nuts, currants, capers, parsley and orange zest
Page 60 Devilled mackerel with mint and tomato salad
Page 103 Mussels in pilau rice with a coconut, cucumber and tomato relish
Page 171 Haddock and Cornish Yarg pie
“Fish and the sea fascinate me to the point of sitting in a daze watching the waves roll in, or searching around rock pools for any crab that might have got stuck behind when the tide has gone out.” Nathan Outlaw
In contrast, the size of Nathan Outlaw’s large recipe book would command pride of place in your kitchen, or would make a great gift. It’s an image-led comprehensive guide to seafood cookery ideal for first-time fish cooks unsure about types of species or cooking techniques. Separated into recipe sections of flat white fish, round white fish, oily fish, smoked fish and shellfish, this book also includes base recipes for stocks and sauces before moving onto fish preparation techniques.
At the start, a handy buying and choosing seafood section guides you through what to look out for when purchasing seafood, such as how to choose the freshest fish. Cooking technique tips follow, from roasting to pan-frying and steaming. The book then delves into the particulars of each fish type, starting with Brill, which includes a physical description, seasonal availability and the suchlike. Our favourite feature is the cooking and accompaniment suggestions that appear in a handy graph.
The recipes are well thought out and easy to follow, though we would advise choosing a weekend or free week night to try them out as they’re on the long side. Approximate preparation times would be handy but are lacking. Despite this minor grumble, each recipe sports an accompanying description that makes you want to try every dish in the book!
The base recipes section is also delightful as it offers more ways in which to flavour fish such as with orange oil or pickled grapes.
Recipes we love by Nathan Outlaw
Page 26 Dover sole fillets with lemon sauce and wild garlic dumplings
Page 74 Red gurnard soup with samphire and orange
Page 100 Ling burger with shallot and cider mustard relish
Page 130 Citrus marinated sea trout with crispy oysters
Mullion Cove Hotel verdict
Both books are worth purchasing if you love seafood and want to re-create the quality dining experience of restaurants in Cornwall! Rick Stein’s pocket book is a handier guide to fixing quick meals as well as simple main course dishes. Alternatively, Nathan Outlaw’s Modern Seafood is suited to those of you who are adventurous but less initiated with our finned friends.
Peruse the recipes in either book and you’ll find it hard to pass a fishmonger’s display case without making a purchase. Cooking fish is neither difficult nor tricky so why not give one of them a go?
Our Head Chef’s top fish buying tips
“We’re lucky to have all types of fish swimming just off shore at Mullion Cove Hotel,” says our Head Chef, Lee Brooking. “When they arrive in our kitchen fresh from local boats you can really taste this in the flavour. To buy fish at its best for home cooking, my advice is to follow these simple rules:
Rule #1 Buy from local fishmongers rather than supermarkets as fish will be fresher
Rule #2 Always ask where your fish as been sourced to check its provenance, local is best
Rule #3 Look for bright eyes, red gills, shiny skin, good colour and a sea fresh aroma
Rule #4 Keep it cool in the fridge before cooking and ideally eat the same day
Rule #5 Fish on the bone keeps longer but you need to keep it cool and wrapped in damp cloth
Next time you visit the Atlantic View Restaurant ask us about our Cornish seafood. We’ll be delighted to tell you about our catch of the day. Enjoy your cooking!”
Foodie Sites We Love
For further cooking inspiration, check out these great sites:
- Kitchlit More great recipe book reviews from blogger, Eleanor Busing
- St Ives Food and Drink Festival Check out the next food festival in Cornwall this springtime
- BBC Good Food A selection of seafood recipes from the UK’s greatest chefs
- Saffronbunny Local foodie, Rachel Wilson-Couch, burrows into the heart of food
- Atlantic View Restaurant Check out our Pinterest board for recipes and ideas
Cornish Festival Hotel Break
Why not book a hotel break in Cornwall and catch the St Ives Food and Drink Festival? Our Cornish Festivals Hotel Break is available for the month of May 2013 only on a per room per night basis for two people sharing, which includes three-course evening dinner, coffee and full English breakfast daily and welcome drinks at reception.
Share your experiences
Have you tasted some lovely fresh fish recently at a restaurant in Cornwall? Or have you eaten a fabulous seafood platter in our Atlantic Restaurant this year? Share your thoughts and comments with us in the box below or tell us about your experiences through our social media pages.
We always love to hear from you!